Category Archives: NFL

False Start: Week 2 NFL injuries derail exciting start to the season

By Griffin Olah

Griffin is a third-year undergraduate BGSU student from North Ridgeville, Ohio. He is a Sport Management major and a Journalism minor. His primary sports interests are baseball and football, both collegiate and professional, but he is also interested in basketball, MMA, boxing and hockey

September 29, 2020

The NFL is back like we’ve never seen it before. Gone are the days of packed stadiums. Now the players duke it out on the gridiron in an empty, cavernous structure to be projected across the nation. Gone are the days of preparation and intrigue, with preseason being eliminated, training camps closed to the public and the season starting. Leading up to and after Week 1, however, there was the same excitement across the nation as the NFL prepared its return and successfully delivered the same product we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing.

Week 2, however, took some of the excitement away from the new season and the return of the nation’s most popular sports league. Stars like Christian McCaffrey, Byron Jones, Michael Thomas and Jimmy Garoppolo all went down with injuries that will cost them multiple weeks of the season. Others, like Nick Bosa, Saquon Barkley, Anthony Barr and Malik Hooker will miss the season (J. Jones, 2020). Teams like the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants lost multiple key contributors to major injuries and will have a hard time in the rest of the season (Gagnon, 2020).

While the problem of injuries is pretty straight forward, the print coverage of it is quite dynamic and interesting. 

Aside from the basic reporting about what happened, who got hurt and how long they’ll be out, most writers are trying to figure out why. Why did so many players go down? Some point to the lack of a preseason and offseason training program due to Covid-19. Many believed that the sudden move from relaxed walk-through type practices into full games would contribute to soft-tissue injuries (K. Jones, 2020; Wilner, 2020). In fact, current NFLPA President and Cleveland Browns center J.C. Tretter wrote a letter to the NFL outlining the fact that after the 2011 NFL lockout and similarly shortened offseason, soft-tissue injuries like those seen in Week 2 increased by 25% (K. Jones, 2020). Obviously, there are not a lot of comparisons that can be made in this unique 2020 season, but a shortened 2011 is a good place to start. That sudden increase, from no contact to full contact, could result in an increase and has in the past (Wilner, 2020). 

Others, though, believe that explanation is not enough. They believe it is important to take into account the lack of major injuries in Week 1, which should have been even worse if the problem was conditioning. In addition, most of the injuries came on big hits and high contact plays, not in running or some other non-contact way (Tanier, 2020b). If conditioning, and in turn, Covid-19, was the main cause of these injuries, then why was the onslaught delayed? Why did we get through Week 1 relatively unscathed? And why were so many injuries because of violent tackles? Saquon Barkley was injured when he was tackled on the sideline. Nick Bosa was injured in an awkward block. Drew Lock was injured after being thrown violently on the ground in a sack. These can’t be ignored as we debate the effects of Covid-19 in sports.

Aside from the cause of the injuries, though, there is the coverage of them. Why is this week such a big deal as opposed to other major injury weeks in the past? Why is this different than the lengthy injury lists of preseason games? Well, fantasy football is a driving factor in that. As sports gambling becomes more and more normalized and legalized across the country, more traditional media outlets, such as USA Today and The New York Times, are covering fantasy sports, especially football. Instead of the focus on the team and the players’ health, the focus is now on “your cousin Carmine’s Metuchen Murder Hornets… us[ing] up all of their fantasy waiver points” (Tanier, 2020a, para. 11). This is a dangerous precedent to set. Yes, a lot of people are playing fantasy sports and care about their teams, but that cannot come before these players’ health and well-being. The media plays into that dangerous idea, and it needs to break free.

Week 2 was a wild week, filled with excitement and happiness, but also with injuries and sadness. The NFL is a dangerous league playing a violent sport, but the media needs to make sure they have the right ideas in mind while reporting on the results of that violence. Looking for causes and solutions is good, but focusing its coverage on the players driving fantasy sports instead of the defensive, special teams and role players that go down each week is not helping the problem. The media needs to break out of its gambling, fantasy-focused reporting and just focus on the facts and how to best report on the full story – and include all players in that reporting.

References

Gagnon, B. (2020, September 21). Injury-plagued week 2 shakes up the NFL: Who is impacted the most? Bleacher Report. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2909975-injury-plagued-week-2-shakes-up-the-nfl-who-is-impacted-the-most

Jones, J. (2020, September 20). Week 2 notes: Why brutal weekend for stars means preseason isn’t going anywhere. CBS Sports. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/week-2-notes-why-brutal-weekend-of-injuries-for-nfl-stars-means-preseason-isnt-going-anywhere/

Jones, K. (2020, September 20). Week 2 injuries threaten to reshape the NFL season. The Ringer. https://www.theringer.com/nfl/2020/9/20/21448020/week-2-injuries-nick-bosa-saquon-barkley-49ers

Tanier, M. (2020a, September 23). NFL injuries lead to hand-wringing, finger-pointing and confusion. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/23/sports/football/nfl-injuries-week-2.html

Tanier, M. (2020b, September 24). What’s next for the 49ers and other injury-riddled teams. Pro Football Network. https://www.profootballnetwork.com/nfl-injuries-week-2-2020/

Wilner, B. (2020, September 21). On football: Week 2 not for the weak as injuries hit NFL. The Associated Press. https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-denver-broncos-nfl-football-richard-sherman-d1a973318828f193ebf0a738912b87e7

What to Watch During (and after*) Quarantine

By Griffin Olah

Submitted: April 16, 2020/Published: June 2, 2020

Griffin is a second-year undergraduate BGSU student from North Ridgeville, Ohio. He is a Sport Management major and a Journalism minor. His primary sports interests are baseball and football, both collegiate and professional, but he is also interested in basketball, MMA, boxing and hockey.

[*Editor’s Note: With apologies to Griffin Olah and readers of Maxwell Media Watch, this insightful entry was submitted during a semester when everything suddenly went online. I should have published it earlier, but hopefully it still provides useful tips for media alternatives to live sporting events in the meantime. N. Spencer].

If you’re anything like me, you miss sports. With COVID-19 shutting down every sports league (we’ll ignore Dana White’s “fighting island”), I need something to quench my thirst for more sports. Luckily, there are quite a few alternatives that can get us all through quarantine while not spending a fortune.

One of the first things I discovered, with the help of Twitter, was the massive MLB library on YouTube. That’s right, Major League Baseball stores broadcasts on both its own YouTube channel, MLB, and on another, the MLB Vault (Langs et. al, 2020). This allows you to go back to see any memorable game in MLB history that has aired on television. Personally, I’ve enjoyed myself watching Game 7 of the 2016 World Series (the game ended with the rain delay), the 2017 Indians winning streak and the wildly entertaining 2019 Home Run Derby match-up between Joc Pederson and Vlad Guerrero Jr. There’s enough there to spend entire days watching baseball, and maybe you’ll even find some hidden gems that you forgot happened.

The NFL has a similar vault of games, but they house it in its own website, NFL Game Pass. Although it usually requires a subscription, the NFL made Game Pass free to all users through May 31, 2020 (NFL.com, 2020). Game Pass has an archive of all games played since the 2009 season, from preseason all the way through the playoffs and the Super Bowl. It also has access to many of NFL Network’s series, including A Football Life, America’s Game, SoundFX and more. I’ve spent a lot of time watching old Browns replays, including the 2018 game against the New York Jets that debuted Baker Mayfield, the 2009 game against the Chiefs that Jerome Harrison played out of his mind, and the America’s Game episode of the 2009 Saints. 

If you aren’t against spending money, however, the ever-popular ESPN+ might be for you. For only $5 a month, you can have access to a massive library of ESPN shows, replays and films. ESPN has streaming deals with many collegiate sports conferences, the NHL, UFC and boxing organizations, allowing many past games and competitions on their platform. I’ve spent hours in the 30 for 30 library and watching old UFC fights featuring Stipe Miocic. If you’re still bored and you want some non-sport action to watch, ESPN+ also can be bundled with Disney Plus and Hulu for $12.99 a month. 

If live action is what you’re craving, however, then eSports might fill that void for you. At the forefront of eSports is NASCAR, with its iRacing Pro Invitational Series. Using real drivers on iRacing, a platform most already use for practice, NASCAR is simulating the missed events of their season (Nicholson, 2020). The simulated races are also aired on Fox, so NASCAR fans can watch just like any other race.

Going along with eSports, the MLB has taken initiative with its MLB The Show Player’s League. Each team has selected one player to represent them through a series of three-inning games on the popular video game franchise (Toribio, 2020). Each player streams their games on their own Twitch page, which works similar to YouTube, so you can hear their commentary in real time. Cincinnati Red pitcher Amir Garrett and Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo have already proven to be both wildly entertaining to watch and incredibly good at the game. I’ve watched some highlights, and I’ll be tuning in whenever Garrett and Gallo take the virtual field again.

Finally, the NBA has attempted to offer another alternative with live action- a HORSE tournament. Current and former NBA and WNBA stars are pitted against each other in the classic basketball game in each of their home gyms (Gartland, 2020). While reception has mostly been negative, with many people claiming the games are too boring or citing internet problems, basketball fans may still be enjoyed. I haven’t tuned into any of the matchups, but if you’re starved for some basketball, it might be right for you. The competitions do air live on ESPN, so anyone interested in watching will have to tune in in real time.

Obviously, there is no true alternative to live sports action, but we can come close. Whether replays are your thing or not, there are tons of options to watch until we get sports back, whenever that may be. Until then, take a look through all of these services and find your favorite, or maybe find something new that’s not discussed here. Either way, good luck with filling your sports void and I hope these can get us all through until the return of sports.

References

Gartland, D. (2020, April 13). ESPN’s NBA HORSE competition was tough to watch. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved from: https://www.si.com/extra-mustard/2020/04/13/espn-nba-horse-tournament-highlights

Langs, S., Simon, A., Randhawa, M., & Catania, J. (2020, March 14). One classic game to watch online from each MLB team. MLB.com. Retrieved from: https://www.mlb.com/news/classic-mlb-games-to-watch-online

NFL.com. (2020, March 18). NFL offers fans free access to NFL Game Pass. NFL.com. Retrieved from: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001106855/article/nfl-offers-fans-free-access-to-nfl-game-pass

Nicholson, J. (2020, March 18). NASCAR launches eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. eSports Insider. Retrieved from: https://esportsinsider.com/2020/03/enascar-iracing-pro-invitational-series/

Toribio, J. (2020, April 10). 30 stars to compete in ‘MLB The Show’ league. MLB.com. Retrieved from: https://www.mlb.com/news/30-stars-compete-in-mlb-the-show-players-league

Seahawks look to replicate past success, bring back Lynch and Turbin

By Pershelle Rohrer

January 3, 2020

Pershelle Rohrer is a first-year BGSU student from Logan, Utah. She is a Sport Management major with a minor in Journalism. Her primary sports interests are football, basketball, and baseball, both at the professional and collegiate levels.

The Seattle Seahawks brought back two familiar faces on December 23, 2019, signing running backs Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. The move comes after Seattle lost their top three running backs for the year due to various injuries, leaving rookie Travis Homer as the only active running back on the roster (Rost, 2019).

Lynch began his first stint with Seattle when he was acquired from the Buffalo Bills in 2010. He quickly became a “Seattle sports icon,” according to John Boyle (2019b, para. 6). Lynch played with the Seahawks from 2010 to 2015, helping the team to two Super Bowl appearances. He had four consecutive seasons in which he rushed for 1,200 or more yards (2011-14) and led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2013 and 2014. (Henderson, 2019). The five-time Pro Bowler retired briefly before returning to play for his hometown Oakland Raiders in 2017 and 2018 (Marek, 2019). 

Just three weeks ago, Lynch was handing out tequila shots to tailgating Raiders fans prior to the team’s final game before next season’s relocation to Las Vegas (Marek, 2019). Last Sunday, he was playing for an NFC West division title as the 11-4 Seahawks took on the 12-3 San Francisco 49ers (Alexander, 2019). He impressed in his return, rushing for 34 yards on 12 carries, including a 15-yard run, and leaping for a 1-yard touchdown in a 26-21 loss to the 49ers (Stecker, 2020).

Seahawks general manager John Schneider had discussions with Lynch about a return before the 2019 campaign, according to head coach Pete Carroll (Gustafson, 2019). In regard to his return to football after his year-long retirement, Lynch said, “At my age, this is a great opportunity to be able to come in and be able to help when needed, get in and do my little thing and get out, hopefully be able to help them go ahead and get to the Super Bowl that they should be playing for” (Boyle, 2019b, para. 7).

Lynch’s return to the NFL generated excitement throughout the NFL, as he was “entirely out of the NFL rumor mill in 2019” (Marek, 2019, para. 5). Andy Nesbitt (2019) wrote, “You have to believe that just his presence alone will pump up the team heading into a game that will decide the NFC West title” (para. 5). Brandon Gustafson (2019) said, “It’s clear fans of the team are excited about Lynch’s return” (para. 19). Julian Paredes (2019) described, “The jury’s still out on whether Lynch remains the dominant player he’d been for nearly a decade, but his return brings life to a team whose season was all but lost to injury” (para. 8).

NBA player Jamal Crawford, a Seattle native, and former Seahawks punter Jon Ryan expressed their excitement on Twitter:

Pete Carroll, referring to Lynch, said, “The circumstances rolled just at this time, and he could have four or five games left in him, maybe that’s what we need” (Boyle, 2019b, para. 5).

Just hours before the Lynch signing, Robert Turbin announced his return to Seattle on Instagram, posting a picture in front of his locker with the caption, “…Happy to be back HOME” (2019). 

Turbin was drafted in the fourth round by the Seahawks in 2012 and was part of the draft class that included seven-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson and six-time Pro Bowl linebacker and Turbin’s Utah State teammate Bobby Wagner (Boyle, 2019a). Turbin played alongside Wilson, Wagner, and Lynch from 2012 to 2014, rushing for 928 yards in 1,231 attempts (good for 4 yards per attempt) in 48 games for Seattle (Henderson, 2019). He also caught 43 passes for 427 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Seahawks during those three seasons (Dajani, 2019). Following his years in Seattle, Turbin played for the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, and Indianapolis Colts (Boyle, 2019b).

While the signing of Lynch is drawing more attention, an Associated Press article emphasized the importance of Turbin as both running backs prepared to play their first games in over a year. Lynch was not expected to handle an entire workload, and Turbin had the potential to take a significant number of snaps as a result. It was unknown at the time how the carries would be split between Turbin, Lynch, and Homer (“Robert Turbin the,” 2019). Turbin did not have any offensive snaps in Week 17 as Homer and Lynch split the workload (Stecker, 2020). However, that does not mean that he will not be a part of Seattle’s game plan as they head into the playoffs.

The Seahawks, who were third in the NFL in rushing yards per game this year heading into Week 17, found themselves “desperate for help at tailback” (Rost, 2019, para. 6) after they lost their top three running backs for the season. The injuries occurred over a fifteen-day span. Rashaad Penny tore his ACL in a Week 14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise suffered a fractured hip and a broken arm, respectively, in a Week 16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Carson rushed for over 1,000 yards for the second straight season and entered Week 16 as the NFL’s fourth leading rusher (“Seahawks officially bring,” 2019). 

The additions of Lynch and Turbin help the Seahawks rebuild their running game as they look to return to the Super Bowl for the first time in five years. The two running backs are “a backfield tandem blast from the franchise’s past” (“Seahawks officially bring,” 2019, para. 1), reminding fans of the back-to-back Super Bowl appearances that the team enjoyed in 2014 and 2015 (Gustafson, 2019). It remains to be seen how Lynch and Turbin impact the remainder of Seattle’s season, but an initial assessment after their first game gives a positive outlook for the Seahawks. Brent Stecker (2020) emphasizes the importance of a strong group of running backs, writing, “Suddenly that run game that has long been a trademark of Carroll’s Seahawks teams – the same one that was eroded away by injuries late in the regular season – looks to be back just in time for the playoffs” (para. 9).

The Seahawks (11-5) will play the NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) on Sunday in a win-or-go-home matchup. Fourth-seeded Philadelphia comes into the playoffs on a four-game winning streak while Seattle has lost two straight games. The Seahawks were 7-1 on the road during the regular season and defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia, 17-9, on November 24th. Carson Wentz will be making his first career playoff start after missing Philadelphia’s successful Super Bowl run two years ago and last year’s playoffs due to injuries (Booth, 2020). Fifth-seed Seattle aims to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2015, and Lynch and Turbin could play important roles for the Seahawks as they start their playoff campaign on Sunday.

References

AdamSchefter. (2019, December 23). Beastmode officially is back in Seattle. Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks have an agreement, and Seattle has a new RB to line up against SF during Sunday night’s NFC-West-deciding showdown. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/1209330496490094593?s=20

AdamSchefter. (2019, December 23). And so one day after the Seahawks lost Chris Carson to a fractured hip and C.J. Prosise to a broken arm, the Seahawks went retro RB and signed Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/1209334252057366528?s=20

Alexander, M. (2019, December 24). Seahawks first-round bye chances take a hit, but they’re not dead yet. Field Gulls. Retrieved from https://www.fieldgulls.com/2019/12/24/21036818/seattle-seahawks-first-round-bye-chances-take-a-hit-nfl-playoff-scenarios-2019

Booth, T. (2020, January 2). Seahawks-Eagles preview. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved from https://sports.yahoo.com/pressure-nothing-eagles-prepare-seattle-200801255–nfl.html

Boyle, J. (2019a, December 17). Seahawks Russell Wilson & Bobby Wagner selected as starters for 2020 Pro Bowl. Seahawks.com. Retrieved from https://www.seahawks.com/news/seahawks-russell-wilson-bobby-wagner-selected-as-starters-for-2020-pro-bowl

Boyle, J. (2019b, December 24). Seahawks sign running backs Marshawn Lynch & Robert Turbin. Seahawks.com. Retrieved from https://www.seahawks.com/news/seahawks-sign-running-backs-marshawn-lynch-robert-turbin

Dajani, J. (2019, December 24). Seahawks bring back Robert Turbin, Marshawn Lynch after losing numerous running backs to injury. CBSSports.com. Retrieved from https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/seahawks-reportedly-to-sign-robert-turbin-still-working-with-marshawn-lynch-on-deal/

Gustafson, B. (2019, December 27). Seahawks’ Pete Carroll explains how Marshawn Lynch returned to Seattle. 710 ESPN Seattle. Retrieved from https://sports.mynorthwest.com/740450/seahawks-pete-carroll-marshawn-lynch-seattle/

Henderson, B. (2019, December 23). Seahawks add RBs Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. ESPN.com.Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28362887/seahawks-add-rbs-marshawn-lynch-robert-turbin

JCrossover. (2019, December 23). Man, man, man.. My favorite player is BACK!!! @MoneyLynch back with the @Seahawks. Christmas came early!!!!! [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/JCrossover/status/1209337833640431616?s=20

JonRyan9. (2019, December 23). I hope my old #24 jersey still fits. #BeastMode [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/JonRyan9/status/1209291330435731456?s=20

Marek, G. (2019, December 24). Marshawn Lynch will face the 49ers on Sunday, 2 weeks after handing out shots at a Raiders tailgate. SFGate. Retrieved from https://www.sfgate.com/49ers/article/Marshawn-Lynch-Seahawks-49ers-Raiders-tailgate-14930215.php

mattschniedman. (2019, December 23). Marshawn Lynch was serving tequila shots at a parking lot tailgate in Oakland eight days ago for the Raiders’ last game there. Now he’s gonna start for the Seahawks in the playoffs. Legend. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/mattschneidman/status/1209170987905945600?s=20

Nesbitt, A. (2019, December 24). The NFL world reacts to Marshawn Lynch rejoining the Seahawks. USA Today. Retrieved from https://ftw.usatoday.com/2019/12/seahawks-marshawn-lynch-agree-on-deal-beast-mode-is-back

Paredes, J. (2019, December 23). Beast mode: Marshawn Lynch officially returns to Seahawks. Q13 Fox.Retrieved from https://q13fox.com/2019/12/23/beast-mode-marshawn-lynch-officially-returns-to-seahawks/

robertjturbin. (2019, December 23). Never give up on God… He’ll never give up on you. Happy to be back HOME [Instagram post]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/B6b8bulnEud/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Robert Turbin the other part of the running back reunion in Seattle. (2019, December 27). Q13 Fox. Retrieved from https://q13fox.com/2019/12/27/robert-turbin-the-other-part-of-the-running-back-reunion-in-seattle/

Rost, S. (2019, December 24). The 3 questions: How much will Lynch’s return impact Seahawks?. 710 ESPN Seattle. Retrieved from https://sports.mynorthwest.com/739909/the-3-questions-how-much-will-lynchs-return-impact-seahawks/?

Seahawks officially bring back RBs Lynch, Turbin. (2019, December 24). Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved by https://sports.yahoo.com/seahawks-officially-bring-back-rbs-070730564.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAKL5VqT9VdSjNDgQOrUczx_Mt1NNG-U7_JKla5Fm5OaEKjUEQxkMG8yrZOxWTFRo-wpvyOPbE_XPJ8eN6mSoTDaSW4ECwu812VN0-OjD291w-U1aaEVbcyNi5qKPp9aec9Fw0RKaXims0QiMFyoCyR5Oo_KOlwXPQo37oIfUgpXe

Stecker, B. (2020, January 3). Seahawks’ run game ‘has some stature to it’ again thanks to Lynch, Homer. 710 ESPN Seattle. Retrieved from https://sports.mynorthwest.com/743669/seahawks-run-game-has-some-stature/

Baltimore is Built-For-More: Defending NFL Defenses

Image result for baltimore ravens defense

By Ben Kelley

December 2, 2019

Ben is a first-year undergraduate BGSU student from Uniontown, Ohio. He is a sport management major and a journalism minor. His primary interests include professional and collegiate football.

If you’ve ever played EA Sports’ Madden NFL 2005, then you might remember the video game’s selling point: the hit-stick. The “hit-stick” was a new feature that allowed you to force a heavy hit onto a ball-carrier by flicking the right stick of a video game controller. EA Sports had a simple reason for introducing the concept: in Madden NFL 2004, users were having trouble with stopping the electric dual-threat quarterback Michael Vick, and players needed a defensive counter. That counter would become the “hit-stick” (“Top 25 features in Madden,” 2013).

Ray Lewis, a former inside linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, appeared on the cover of Madden NFL 2005. With Lewis and the hit-stick headlining the game, Madden NFL 2005 took on a defensive approach to virtual football gaming.

It’s now 2019, and quarterback turnover has become a common theme throughout the current NFL season. As the league approaches the fourteenth week of regular-season competition, eighty-six quarterbacks have attempted at least one pass during a game. Of those eighty-six quarterbacks, only sixteen have started twelve games this season. Out of those sixteen, only nine have winning records as starters (“NFL passing,” 2019). Five of those quarterbacks play for a team with a top-six defense in points allowed; four of those starters have a defense ranked in the top-four in points allowed (“NFL opposition & defensive statistics,” 2019).

One team with consistent quarterback play and a top defensive unit is the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens currently have the sixth-best defense and have compiled ten wins and only two losses. Their quarterback, Lamar Jackson, has statistically lit up the league this season. Jackson has thrown for 2,532 yards with a pass-completion percentage of 66.5%, with twenty-five passing touchdowns and only five interceptions in 2019 (“NFL passing,” 2019). In addition, Jackson has rushed for 977 yards and seven touchdowns this season (for comparison, Jackson is currently ranked eighth in rushing yards in the NFL) (“NFL rushing,” 2019).

Sports media has taken note of Lamar’s play in 2019. Sean Wagner-McGough (2019) of CBS Sports claims “Jackson is our MVP after 12 weeks” (para 2). Zach Frydenlaud (2019) of Complex not only thinks that Jackson has the MVP award wrapped up, but that Jackson “is the future of the league at QB” (para 6).

However, Baltimore’s defense deserves a share of the credit. Baltimore’s defense is currently ranked sixth in points allowed, and they’ve caused nineteen turnovers in 2019. Only New England, San Francisco, Buffalo, Minnesota, and Chicago sit ahead of the Ravens in points allowed, and each of these teams has a winning record. Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and Dallas each sit behind Baltimore in points allowed, and each of those teams are at .500 or above. As a whole, the top nine defenses in points allowed all have a record at .500 or higher.

New England and San Francisco each own a record of 10-2, yet their quarterbacks are not playing at the highest of levels. Tom Brady currently holds the 21st best quarterback rating, and Jimmy Garoppolo holds the 10th best quarterback rating (“NFL passing,” 2019). Tennessee is on their second quarterback of the season, and they’re 7-5. Chicago’s quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, has a rating of 84.4 for 24th place, yet the Bears have a record of 6-5 (“NFL passing,” 2019). Pittsburgh is now relying on their third quarterback this season, yet the Steelers sit at seven wins and five losses.

While scrambling dual-threat quarterbacks may appear to be the future of the NFL, strong defensive play is making its case to be labeled as “the future of the NFL.” Each of the top nine defenses in points allowed this season have kept their teams in playoff contention, despite below-average quarterback play or turnover at the position. It’s as if we’re living in the world of Madden NFL 2005, and the “hit-stick” has made its appearance.

References

2019 NFL opposition & defensive statistics. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2019/opp.htm

2019 NFL passing. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2019/passing.htm

2019 NFL rushing. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2019/rushing.htm#rushing_and_receiving::rush_yds

2019 NFL standings & team stats. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2019/

Frydenlaud, Z. (2019, November 25). Lamar Jackson is not only the NFL MVP but the future of the league. Complex. Retrieved from https://www.complex.com/sports/2019/11/lamar-jackson-mvp-and-future

Top 25 features in Madden NFL history. (2013, August 2). EA Sports. Retrieved from https://www.easports.com/madden-nfl/news/2013/madden-football-history

Wagner-McGough, S. (2019, December 1). NFL MVP race, week 13: Lamar Jackson begins to pull away from Russell Wilson, Stephon Gilmore makes his debut. CBS Sports. Retrieved from https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/nfl-mvp-race-week-13-lamar-jackson-begins-to-pull-away-from-russell-wilson-stephon-gilmore-makes-his-debut/

Myles Garrett fight overshadows rivalry victory for Cleveland Browns, leads to indefinite suspension

By Pershelle Rohrer

December 1, 2019

Pershelle Rohrer is a first-year BGSU student from Logan, Utah. She is a Sport Management major with a minor in Journalism. Her primary sports interests are football, basketball, and baseball, both at the professional and collegiate levels.

The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-7 in the week 11 Thursday Night Football matchup on November 14. Baker Mayfield threw for two touchdowns and rushed for one in the victory, giving the Browns a record of 4-6 and putting them back in the playoff race. Cleveland’s win over Pittsburgh (5-5) should have been something to celebrate, as it was just their fourth win over their division rival in the past ten years (“Browns, Steelers brawl,” 2019). However, a fight that broke out in the last eight seconds of the game overshadowed anything positive that happened in the Browns’ second straight win.

On the second to last snap of the game, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett brought down Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph well after Rudolph had completed a pass. Rudolph attempted to remove Garrett’s helmet, kicking him while they were still on the ground. Garrett then tore off Rudolph’s helmet and hit him on the top of the head with it when Rudolph followed him to retrieve it, causing the benches to clear. Garrett was ejected along with teammate Larry Ogunjobi, who shoved Rudolph to the ground just after the helmet incident, and Maurkice Pouncey, who then punched and kicked Garrett in retaliation. 

The NFL issued suspensions to all three ejected players. Garrett was suspended indefinitely with a minimum ban for the remainder of the season, Pouncey was given a three-game ban, and Ogunjobi sat out one week. All three players appealed their suspensions, and Pouncey’s was reduced to two games as a result, according to ESPN (“Myles Garrett’s indefinite,” 2019). Rudolph received a $50,000 fine for his actions, and both teams were fined $250,000 each.

Garrett was immediately criticized by the media, fans, and players alike. Troy Aikman, current Fox commentator and former NFL player, called Garrett’s actions “barbaric” (“Browns, Steelers brawl,” 2019, para. 11). Reggie Bush (2019) tweeted that it “might have been the craziest thing I have seen on a football field!”

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said the incident would become “a soap opera on the outside much like the media has portrayed us to be for the whole season” (“Browns, Steelers brawl,” 2019, para. 13). The Browns have faced growing pains with a revamped roster in their first season under head coach Freddie Kitchens. The win against the Steelers was their second straight, but losing Garrett for the season could potentially hurt the Browns’ playoff chances as the defense has to make up for the loss of their star defender. 

Following the game, the media took turns speculating about the length of Garrett’s suspension. Many reporters and players called for a season-long ban, some suggesting that the suspension should go into the 2020 season as well. 

Prior to Garrett’s penalty, the longest suspension for a single on-field action was five games, awarded to Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth in 2006 for ripping Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode’s helmet off and stomping on his face (Trotter & Pryor, 2019). 

Garrett’s indefinite suspension makes a statement to the rest of the NFL, especially since Rudolph recently came off a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas in week 5 that knocked the quarterback unconscious (Seifert, 2019).

Garrett will have to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell before his reinstatement (Trotter & Pryor, 2019). By holding out one of the league’s stars for the rest of the season and potentially part of the next, the NFL is showing its decreased tolerance for fighting and the need to prevent incidents like this from occurring again.

The media calling for the lengthy suspension of Myles Garrett put pressure on the NFL to act. By issuing the longest suspension for a single on-field act in league history and later upholding the indefinite ban, the NFL demonstrates its power to discipline players for unsportsmanlike conduct, which it hopes to reduce in the future.

The Browns and Steelers met again on December 1 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

References

Browns, Steelers brawl at end of Cleveland’s 21-7 win. (2019, November 14). ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/recap?gameId=401128044

JForsett. (2019, November 15). I wouldn’t be surprised if Garrett misses the rest of this season and half of next. It’s an ugly situation, Mason could have suffered a life altering injury. Football is an emotional sport but that was something different. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/jforsett/status/1195215451657318400?s=21

JuiceCheck44. (2019, November 14). Myles Garrett should not be allowed to play another snap this season [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/juicecheck44/status/1195202767494598656?s=21

LRiddickESPN. (2019, November 14). Suspend him for the rest of the season. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/lriddickespn/status/1195200614382346241?s=21

Myles Garrett’s indefinite ban upheld; Maurkice Pouncey now suspended 2 games. (2019, November 21). ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28131395/myles-garrett-indefinite-ban-upheld-maurkice-pouncey-now-suspended-2-games

Pryor, B. (2019, November 23). NFL fines Steelers QB Mason Rudolph $50,000 for role in fight. ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28146654/nfl-fines-steelers-qb-mason-rudolph-50000-role-fight

ReggieBush. (2019, November 14). In all my life of football that might have been the craziest thing I have seen on a football field! They about to suspend Myles Garrett for 30 years! People getting stomped out, that was a hood fight! Hate to see that in our game that’s not what pro football is about! [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/reggiebush/status/1195202558643490816?s=21

Seifert, K. (2019, November 15). Myles Garrett suspension for Steelers-Browns fight: Why he deserves record punishment for helmet swing. ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28083617/myles-garrett-suspension-steelers-browns-fight-why-deserves-record-punishment-helmet-swing

Trotter, J., & Pryor, B. (2019, November 15). Browns’ Myles Garrett suspended indefinitely; Steelers’ Maurkice Pouncey gets 3-game ban. ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28087446/browns-myles-garrett-suspended-indefinitely-steelers-maurkice-pouncey-gets-3-game-ban

The Patriots Need to Protect Their Jewel(ian)

Image result for julian edelman injury

By Ben Kelley

November 25, 2019

Ben is a first-year undergraduate BGSU student from Uniontown, Ohio. He is a sport management major and a journalism minor. His primary interests include professional and collegiate football.

The New England Patriots are desperate to get some sort of offensive consistency. Despite quarterback Tom Brady’s undisputed ability to throw the football, the Patriots have struggled to get players who can catch the football. The instability has meant that there’s a different set of receivers available to Brady each week, and the instability is seemingly growing.

At the beginning of the season, the Patriots lined up former Pro-Bowlers Antonio Brown, Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas, and Julian Edelman at the wide receiver position. By Halloween, Brown and Gordon were cut, Thomas was traded, Mohamed Sanu was acquired from the Atlanta Falcons, and two undrafted rookie receivers – Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski – were being thrust onto the field. Receiver Philip Dorsett has offered consistency; however, he’s currently nursing a concussion while Sanu faces an ankle injury (Mason, 2019). Olszewski’s season has ended due to injury, and rookie N’Keal Harry was recently thrown into the mix (Cox, 2019). In short, only one wide receiver has been available to Brady each week – Julian Edelman. Edelman has capitalized on the opportunity, with 112 targets, 76 receptions, 809 receiving yards, 4 touchdown catches, one touchdown pass, and 15 passing yards in twelve games (“Julian Edelman,” 2019).

Antonio Brown, on the other hand, has only played one game in 2019. (“Antonio Brown,” 2019). His season has been engulfed with drama-infused antics – including sexual assault charges. The NFL swiftly hit Brown with an investigation, and after his release from New England, NFL teams have avoided signing Brown. However, Brown is showing optimism that the investigation is siding in his favor. On November 19th, Brown posted an apology on social media to the Patriots organization for the drama he brought to the team. By November 21st, rumors started swirling that the Patriots are doing their due diligence on Brown, with the team possibly exploring bringing back a much-needed familiar face (Williams, 2019).

Brown’s possible return is already being labeled as the answer to Tom Brady’s growing frustrations with the offensive struggles. Against the Philadelphia Eagles last week, the Patriots had to rely on field goals, a trick pass from Edelman, and a stout defense to win the game with a  score of 17-10. After the game, Brady kept his press conference short and concise, with the media claiming that the addition of generational talent Antonio Brown would clearly help ease Brady’s frustrations (Brinson, 2019). However, the possible addition of Brown should not be looked at as a move for the sake of Tom Brady. It should be viewed as an addition for the sake of Julian Edelman.

Edelman arguably needs Brown more than Brady does. Edelman is currently on pace for around 100 receptions this season, and at 33 years old, he needs some relief (“Julian Edelman,” 2019). Aside from Edelman’s heavy workload this year, he was also nursing a minor shoulder injury ahead of the Patriot’s contest against the Dallas Cowboys (Mason, 2019). If Edelman suffers a more serious injury, the Patriots would be forced to get creative with moving the ball down the field at a time when the team already struggles with doing so. A deep playoff run without Edelman’s skill set or experience would certainly hurt the Patriots and possibly frustrate Brady even further. Adding in Antonio Brown would help relieve the pressure being put on Edelman and give the Patriots – and the defenses they face – a second receiver to focus on.   

References

Antonio Brown. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/B/BrowAn04.htm

Brinson, Will. (2019, November 19). Antonio Brown rumors: Everyone thinks WR coming back to Patriots after Brown apologizes to Robert Kraft. CBS Sports. Retrieved from https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/antonio-brown-rumors-everyone-thinks-wr-coming-back-to-patriots-after-brown-apologizes-to-robert-kraft/

Cox, Z. (2019, November 19). NFL rumors: Patriots plan to place Gunner Olszewski on IR to add Isaiah Wynn. NESN. Retrieved from https://nesn.com/2019/11/nfl-rumors-patriots-expected-to-place-gunner-olszewski-on-ir-to-add-isaiah-wynn/

Julian Edelman. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/E/EdelJu00.htm

Mason, C. (2019, November 20). Julian Edelman returns to injury report, Phillip Dorsett and Mohamed Sanu didn’t participate in New England Patriots practice. Mass Live. Retrieved from https://www.masslive.com/patriots/2019/11/julian-edelman-returns-to-injury-report-phillip-dorsett-and-mohamed-sanu-didnt-participate-in-new-england-patriots-practice.html

Williams, C. (2019, November 21). Report: Patriots have “kicked the tires” on Antonio Brown. Pro Football Talk. Retrieved from https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/11/21/report-patriots-have-kicked-the-tires-on-antonio-brown/

The Miami Dolphins’ Approach to Team Building

By Ben Kelley

November 18, 2019

Ben is a first-year undergraduate BGSU student from Uniontown, Ohio. He is a sport management major and a journalism minor. His primary interests include professional and collegiate football.

Is there an approach to team-building synonymous with the 2016-2017 Cleveland Browns and the 2008 Detroit Lions? One might say ‘tanking’ and point to the historic amount of losses each team endured as part of a master plan to acquire higher draft picks. Higher draft picks usually equate to better players to choose from in the draft, and better players usually mean a championship squad. In 2008, the Lions would lose all sixteen of their games and were awarded with the first overall draft pick. The Browns used the same plan in 2016 and 2017, winning one game in two years and getting two first overall picks during that span.

With the 2019 Miami Dolphins showing an inability to remain competitive paired with a willingness to trade away talented players, sports media have pointed to the Dolphins as the most recent example of a team willing to ‘tank’ for future talent. One article makes no haste in proclaiming the tank: “The Dolphins organization is not trying to be a contender in 2019. Its goal all year has been to load up on cap space and draft picks in lieu of wins.” (Stites, 2019, para 3). Another article stresses the importance of a Dolphins’ loss to another winless team, the Washington Redskins: “We’re not going through this suffering to not get the first spot [of the 2020 NFL Draft]. Are we all in agreement that this loss must happen?” (Noa, 2019, para 2).

However, sports media is mislabeling the Dolphins intentions. The team is not trying to lose for the sake of draft picks – the Dolphins are trying to follow a blueprint that is not necessarily ‘tanking’ to build their championship core.

First, look no further than Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores. Flores’ resume includes four championship-winning seasons as a coach for the New England Patriots, including the 2018-2019 season where he served as the defensive play-caller (Brian Flores, 2019). With his success in New England, Flores knows what kind of a team is needed to win, and he will most likely try to implement New England’s winning culture in Miami.

Second, Miami currently has a young core of players, including cornerback Xavien Howard and quarterback Josh Rosen. Howard, who made the 2018 Pro Bowl as a Dolphin, was recently extended to the 2024 season on a $76.5 million contract (Stites, 2019). Rosen, a first-round pick in 2018, was acquired via trade before the season for a 2019 second-round draft pick (Stites, 2019). If the Dolphins are trying to throw their own games, then why would the team spend big money and draft capital for a Pro-Bowl cornerback and potential franchise quarterback?

While the Dolphins’ 2019 season looks like a classic example of tanking, the team is not aiming to lose as many games as possible. The team is making calculated decisions to build a championship team – and is giving out big contracts and trading draft assets to do so. The team’s young core of players has already won two games this season and could win a few more before the end of the season.

References

Brian Flores. (2019). Miami Dolphins. Retrieved from https://www.miamidolphins.com/team/coaches-roster/brian-flores

Noa, K. (2019, October 10). Quite possibly the most important game for the 2019 Dolphins. The Phinsider. Retrieved from https://www.thephinsider.com/2019/10/10/20908650/quite-possibly-the-most-important-game-for-the-2019-dolphins

Stites, A. (2019, September 29). How the Dolphins are tanking the 2019 season, in 3 steps. SBNation. Retrieved from https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2019/9/15/20861089/miami-dolphins-tanking-2019-draft-picks-cap-space


Low Expectations for Browns yet again- Playoff Chances Diminished or Rising

By Cole Kegley

October 13, 2019

Cole Kegley is a junior undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University, majoring in Sport Management and minoring in General Business. The Bucyrus, Ohio alumnus focuses on basketball and football, with an emphasis on collegiate and professional levels. 

Browns’ fans were left in worry and bewilderment when their franchise relocated, becoming the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. To the surprise of no one, joy filled Cleveland when their beloved Brownies were back in the city beginning in the 1999-2000 season, following a 3-year deactivation period. The dawg pound was alive and thriving. Though, to what degree? 

Since their return to the NFL 20 years ago, the Browns have been nothing short of a disappointment. Similarly, an exponential number of quarterbacks have taken the reigns since their homecoming in 1999- thirty to be exact (Kenyon, 2018). To make matters worse, only one Quarterback has played a full 16-game season in the past 20 years for Cleveland, Tim Couch.

Browns’ fans have struggled through the past twenty years, witnessing numerous roster changes, head coaches fired mid-year, draft pick busts, players leaving in the off-season, and many other that took a toll on the organization. However, the culture and stigma surrounding the Cleveland Browns has begun to change in the past two years. The media, players, and fans alike are beginning to gain a sense of respect for this new-look team. 

Draft picks including Denzel Ward, Nick Chubb, Baker Mayfield, and Myles Garrett are just part of the reason why the Browns are turning heads. Another reason: trades and off-season acquisitions including the likes of Pro Bowlers Jarvis Landry, Olivier Vernon, and future Hall of Famer Odell Beckham Jr. make the Cleveland Browns an exciting team to watch. However, many media members refuse to accept Cleveland’s recent changes and their view as merely the “Mistake by the Lake” remains prominent. 

Colin Cowherd is one of the more popular faces of sport media, and more specifically as of late, Baker Mayfield; he has gone so far as to say, “I will be shocked if Baker does not finish top 2 in the MVP (voting)” He was also quoted saying, “of course Baker has a shot, because Baker has a better story. This is what MVP’s have become” (Cowherd, 2019). 

Clearly, Cowherd thinks highly of Baker and his story since taking an 0-16 team to 7-8-1 while only starting 13 games and throwing the most passing touchdowns by a quarterback in NFL history. However, he does not want to commit to the Browns becoming a winning and respectable team. 

Fast forward to week 4 of the NFL season, and the 1-2 Cleveland Browns (with their only win coming against a Jets team missing their starting QB) were looking at the 2-1 Baltimore Ravens with a sense of urgency. Consequently, A mere 14% of NFL teams starting 1-3 have made the playoffs since 1990 (Clayton, 2016). 

ESPN broadcasters such as Max Kellerman and Dan Orlovsky voiced how the Browns were desperately striving to replicate the Sean McVay-Rams phenomenon but failing. This comparison could not be more irritating as the Browns’ head coach is 11 years older than Sean McVay, and the reasoning for McVay’s fame is his relative success at such a young age- 33 years old (Kellerman & Orlovsky, 2019). 

False analogies sway viewers to believe un-factual information which is simply not comparable. Similarly, these broadcasters along with others have prematurely written off Freddie Kitchens and the Browns following only a handful of games. 

So, what should NFL consumers believe? The star-stacked Browns with a 2nd year quarterback and 1st year head coach started off slowly, dropping their first game by a margin of 30. Since then, they are 2-1 and are now sitting atop the AFC North, which they have not won since their return to the NFL (Lukas, 2019). 

All things considered, the Cleveland Browns deserve to be respected by the media. Sports broadcasters across American seem eager to see the Browns lose, leaving them to reaffirm their doubts of the Browns being the same old team to viewers. In spite of this fact, the Browns have struggled to begin the season. Though to their defense, 2 of their losses have come at the hands of the 4-0 San Francisco 49ers, and the Los Angeles Rams, 2018 NFC Champions. 

Lastly, multiple defenders including star-studded talent such as Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams, and Morgan Burnett have missed multiple games. All in all, playoffs are still intact for the Browns and hopes for success are still on the table, so do not be too quick to write off this team, as they are loaded with talent on offense and defense. 

References

Clayton, J. (2016, October 4). Ranking 1-3 NFL teams most likely to bounce back. ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/insider/story/_/id/17708074/ranking-1-3-nfl-teams-most-likely-turn-2016-playoffs.

Cowherd, C. [The Herd with Colin Cowherd]. (2019, July 26). Baker Mayfield’s MVP odds are due to his story, Colin says to pay Dak before Zeke | NFL | THE HERD [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogHKc0zgmu4 

Kellerman, M. & Orlovsky, D. [ESPN]. (2019, September 24). Is Freddie Kitchens failing as the Browns head coach? | Get Up [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdkWLJhUXxU

Kenyon, D. (2018, May 10). Cleveland Browns Quarterbacks: Revisiting every starting QB since Tim Couch. Bleacher Report. Retrieved from https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2773955-cleveland-browns-quarterbacks-revisiting-every-starting-qb-since-tim-couch.

Lukas, M. (2019, October 1). Cleveland Browns, AFC North 1st place, say it aloud! Dawg Pound Daily. Retrieved from https://dawgpounddaily.com/2019/10/01/cleveland-browns-afc-north-1st-place-say-it-aloud/.

 

 

 

Why was Melvin Gordon’s Holdout so Different from Le’Veon Bell’s?

By Drew Gallagher

October 7, 2019

Drew Gallagher is a second-year Sport Management student with a minor in General Business at Bowling Green State University. Drew is a proud native of Aurora, Illinois and is interested in many sports, but focuses primarily on baseball and football at the professional and collegiate levels.

On Wednesday, September 25th, Melvin Gordon of the Los Angeles Chargers decided to end his hold out and returned to his team. His hold out for a better contract began in training camp and lasted until week 4 of the NFL season (Gordon, 2019). In the middle of the holdout in early August, “Melvin Gordon’s agent Damarius Bilbo [had] requested that the Los Angeles Chargers trade his client” (Abdeldaiem, 2019, para 1). The holdout included its share of ups and downs, but still seemed relatively quiet. This is especially apparent when put side-by-side with Le’Veon Bell’s 2018 holdout which lasted the entire season.

As a reminder, Le’Veon Bell was a member of the Steelers who was also in the last year of his contract. He decided in training camp that he wanted to hold out for a long-term deal with his current team. Both his camp and the Steelers had many separate contract negotiations throughout the preseason and early 2018 season, but no new deal came about. Because of this, he ended up foregoing the entire amount of the franchise tender that the Steelers had offered him, and he sat out the entire season. Gordon however, has had very similar circumstances, but still gave in to his holdout not even a fourth of the way through the year. One of these similarities is that both teams seemed to get by equally fine with their backup running backs (Ekeler and Conner) who thrived without their first string counterparts. This begs the question: how did the differences between the two affect the outcomes of their respective holdouts?

For starters, media coverage seemed to play a big role in how people perceived both incidents. Le’Veon Bell is known to be a very outspoken individual. He was constantly doing interviews and posting on social media to talk about his displeasure with how his holdout was going. Because of this, I believe that the media had a lot more interest in the story. Gordon, on the other hand, seemed to stay relatively quiet during his holdout and therefore had less coverage coming his way. This could very well be part of the reason why Gordon decided to come out of his holdout part way through the year unlike Bell. Without the constant media coverage, fans weren’t as eager to see the deal get done. This meant that Gordon had significantly less leverage than Bell when it came to contract negotiations.

Another reason that could be equally responsible for the difference in the holdouts is that If Gordon didn’t “play at all in 2019, his contract would… just transfer to 2020, when he would then be scheduled to earn $5.6 million once again” (Graziano, 2019, para. 5). However, Bell did not “have this problem because of the franchise-tag rules, which would have forced the Steelers to pay him nearly $21 million this year if they had wanted to franchise him for the third year in a row” (Graziano, 2019, para 6).

Whether the contracts themselves had the largest impact on the differences between how the respective holdouts ended up could definitely be debated. What is clear though is that the difference in media coverage definitely affected them in some way. I can definitely see similar circumstances affecting future holdouts as well.

 

References

Abdeldaiem, A. (2019, August 1). Melvin Gordon’s agent requests trade amid contract dispute with Chargers. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved from https://www.si.com/nfl/2019/08/01/melvin-gordon-trade-request-chargers-contract-dispute

Gordon, G. (2019, September 25). Melvin Gordon ending holdout, will report to Chargers. nfl.com. Retrieved from http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001058986/article/melvin-gordon-ending-holdout-will-report-to-chargers

Graziano, D. (2019, August 8). Why you can’t compare the Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon holdouts to Le’Veon Bell’s. ESPN. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27342231/why-compare-ezekiel-elliott-melvin-gordon-holdouts-leveon-bells

Understanding the business of the NFL Offseason and Antonio Brown’s “Fake News”

By Jordan Moening

Jordan Moening is a first-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. He is a Sport Management Major with a Minor in Journalism. He is also a native of Wapakoneta, Ohio and is a huge lover of sports, mainly football, basketball, and soccer.

March 15, 2019

On March 10, 2019, Antonio Brown announced his intention of signing with the Oakland Raiders. Two days before his announcement, the Buffalo Bills were planning on signing him to their team. Antonio Brown quickly responded on the NFL’s Instagram by posting a comment saying, “Fake News.” This begs the question of how the business of the NFL operates during the offseason.

To start, the new league year for signing free agents technically started on March 13th. Since then, players have been getting their official new contracts. Free agency and the NFL draft are the two most important components of the off-season. Depending on the team, either one could be more important (If the team is rebuilding with younger talent, then it would be the Draft; if they are looking for an “all-in” year, they are looking to the Super Bowl). The real intrigue of free agency happened only a couple of days before the new league year opened. Teams need to make cap space for rookies and new players that they want to acquire. The best way to do that is to release a player and remove that player from the team’s payroll. Some teams sign players off of waivers after they have been released, and there are some trades between teams. The main trades that occur are between players and draft picks.

Some players have to make hard decisions about where they want to play. The decision is usually not as hard for very good football players like Antonio Brown. He can play for just about any team that he wants and get a big contract. Most teams hoping to acquire players need to look at their salary cap. Players that cut into the salary cap for a large amount of time cost a lot of money, and few players in the league are worth huge contracts that fill a lot of cap space, but Antonio Brown is worth it. According to NFL.com statistics, in 9 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he has recorded 837 receptions, 11,207 yards receiving on 13.4 yards per catch, and 74 touchdowns (“Antonio Brown,” 2019). Those stats obviously make him one of if not the best receiver in football.

“Fake News.” The sports media tweeted, made an Instagram post, and put word out about the trade of Antonio Brown. In an interview with ESPN, NFL.com writer Grant Gordon posted quotes of Antonio Brown in an interview, “I don’t even have to play football if I don’t want. I don’t even need the game, I don’t need to prove nothing to anyone, If they wanna play, they going to play by my rules. If not, I don’t need to play. Another quote stated, “Obviously, I want the game, but I don’t need the game, it’s a difference” (Gordon, 2019, para 4). I personally feel that Brown is trying to make the game about money, instead of loyalty to try to stay with the Steelers and see if they can win championships together in Pittsburgh. Another example of a player leaving Pittsburgh was former teammate Le’Veon Bell who signed with the New York Jets and left Pittsburgh.

In the long run, the NFL is a business and players are going to choose where they want to play. They will ask for however much money they want, and if the player is very good and fits that team’s salary cap, then that team will make it happen. In Antonio Brown’s case, it’s not “Fake News” that the NFL Offseason is still very fun to follow.

References

Antonio Brown. (2019). NFL.com. Retrieved from http://www.nfl.com/player/antoniobrown/2508061/careerstats

Gordon, G. (2019, March 3). Antonio Brown: ‘I don’t even have to play football.’ NFL.com. Retrieved from http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001020572/article/antonio-brown-i-dont-even-have-to-play-football